The title recognises not only her service to the fashion industry but also her charity work that spans nearly two decades.
Last week, Victoria Beckham, the fashion designer and ex-pop singer formerly known as Posh Spice, received her OBE at Buckingham Palace from none other than Prince William himself.
Beckham is a style icon in her own rights, the envy of young girls everywhere at the start of her career with girl band the Spice Girls and then worshipped by style mavens worldwide when she transitioned seamlessly into a fashion moghul role. Now she just climbed the ranks into a royally acknowledged level with the royal title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a direct honour from the Queen of England.
What’s the big deal you ask? A whole lot.
The title, awarded to Beckham in the presence of her soccer star husband David, who snagged an OBE of his own in 2003, recognises not only her service to the fashion industry but also her charity work that spans nearly two decades.
Despite starting out as a pop star, she always knew fashion was her true calling. In a recent interview with Elle UK, she revealed that she was made for fashion.
“Being in the Spice Girls was so much fun, but I was never the best singer or dancer. I learned an enormous amount during that time, though: the staging, the lighting, the costumes – the package excited me. But I love fashion — this is what I’m genuinely interested in.… When I look back at my past self, [the way I dressed and behaved] was probably a sign of my insecurities. I feel quite confident in myself now.”
She finally stepped into shoes that fit her better – that of a fashion designer – with her first show at New York Fashion Week 2008. Clean silhouettes and strict cuts made to accentuate the woman body in fuss-free colour palettes to facilitate mixing and matching for the modern working woman have come to be her eponymous brand’s signature. But her brand of fashion often also comes with a cause.
She released a series of plain white T for HIV/AIDS awareness back in 2015 and most recently, her collection with US clothing giant Target sold out in a matter of hours, starting a whole eBay fashion landslide when pieces went up on the bidding site for auction.
Her works in fashion won her a string of accolades, among them the Designer Brand of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards, BBC’s UK’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Fashion in 2013 and British Luxury Brand of the Year at the Walpole Awards in 2015.
As much recognition as she was constantly getting, she always gave back – Beckham took on the role of an UN International Goodwill Ambassador for an AIDS charity in 2014. The PETA supporter is also a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation as well as an advocate of Save the Children.
This is no ordinary title given to no ordinary celebrity. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry; rewarding contributions to deserving individuals in their respective fields from the arts to the sciences. It is the fourth class in a hierarchy of 5 in the order below:
- Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE)
- Knight Commander or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE or DBE)
- Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
- Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
- Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)
I guess that makes Beckham, Dame Victoria to you now.